In mid-March, as Arizona began to implement public health and safety measures, our community’s small businesses began a long hard uncharted road that was and is difficult to navigate. The journey continues as COVID-19 mitigations are still a critical part of containing this pandemic, but we at CIC would like to take a quick pause to give incredible thanks to those who helped support our emergency response work in the first few months of this crisis.Continue reading
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 29, 2020
Danny Knee, Executive Director
CIC and Wefunder Launch Two Women-Led Equity Crowdfunding Campaigns
Here at the Community Investment Corporation (CIC), we’re dedicated to expanding economic opportunities for entrepreneurs across Southern Arizona and the broader cross-border region of Sonora. We’re continuing to evolve as we discover new needs in the community and match those to better, more accessible options for funding.
Entrepreneurship, the lifeblood of our economy, is in decline
A study from The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) describes how entrepreneurial activity started slowing down 30 years ago, took a sharp hit during the economic downturn of the 2000’s and has yet to recover. “We’ve seen decent job growth but 0% new business growth” says Zach Yentzer, host of The Tipping Point podcast on KVOI The Voice. (source)
The challenge most heard from entrepreneurs is lack of access to capital. This presents a tremendous opportunity to bring new funding options to Tucson to support entrepreneurs starting and growing businesses in our community. One such option is equity crowdfunding. To raise awareness and uptake of this new-ish funding option, CIC has formed a partnership with Wefunder, an equity crowdfunding platform out of San Francisco.
What is equity crowdfunding?
The recently passed JOBS Act allowed companies to raise funding through non-accredited investors (the 97% of the population who are not high-net-worth individuals), also known as Regulation Crowdfunding. CIC has partnered with Wefunder to promote this option to local business owners and provide resources to help them be successful.
This opens up the door for Community Capital: a movement to democratize financial systems, where empowered citizen investors catalyze the growth of locally-rooted ventures creating economic opportunity for all, especially inclusion of communities and entrepreneurs historically excluded from traditional funding models.
Today we are excited to announce our first two campaigns launching on Wefunder – Fuego Fino and Stackhouse, both women-led companies.
More about Fuego Fino, Inc. and Stackhouse
Fuego Fino, Inc:
Fuego Fino, Inc is an eco-friendly wine and spirits company headed by local Tucson native Jessica Contreras.
“My goal has always been to give back to the community in which I was born and raised by providing jobs. We are in the process of rolling out the first phase of our expansion, which will include a distribution and marketing hub based in the Tucson area,” says Fuego Fino Founder Jessica Contreras.
Fuego Fino on WeFunder
Stackhouse is a real estate development company that seeks to make homeownership more accessible and downtown living more affordable regardless of the real estate market.
“After exploring multiple funding options, we chose WeFunder for the opportunity it provided the community to invest, and our platform will benefit Tucson by providing more affordable housing options. I feel like we’re at the forefront of a movement to expand entrepreneurship through innovative funding solutions like WeFunder and we’re excited to be a part of it.” Janelle Briggs, Founder and CEO of Stackhouse.
Stackhouse on WeFunder
“We’re excited to see that our first two Wefunder campaigns are both helmed by women founders, and it speaks to the need for alternative funding platforms to provide capital access to support more businesses owned by women.” Danny Knee, CEO, Community Investment Corporation
“Wefunder is a great platform for founders who might typically find it harder to raise capital from conventional funding sources. Last year, less than 3% of VC capital went to female-led companies. But it’s encouraging that the first two Wefunder campaigns launching in Tucson are led by women. Through our partnership with CIC, we’re hoping to fund more and more female founders, as well as entrepreneurs of color, in the Tucson community, over the coming months and years.” Jonny Price, Wefunder
“Ownership in a spirits business is typically limited to a handful of wealthy families passed on from generation-to-generation. We are offering the opportunity for Tucsonans to participate as OWNERS while helping to build the community,” says Jessica Contreras, Founder of Fuego Fino, Inc.
If you’re interested in investing in these businesses, check out their campaigns on Wefunder:
About CIC: Community Investment Corporation is a nonprofit economic development organization dedicated to the prosperity of Pima County and the surrounding area since 1996. Committed to expanding economic opportunities, CIC pursues three distinct program areas including support and financing for entrepreneurship/small business, home ownership and education. CIC’s goal is to promote economic inclusion for all members of southern Arizona, regardless of socioeconomic status. Specifically, CIC’s work ensures that more people in the community can get the funding they need to start, sustain, and grow their small businesses, can buy homes, and can access the education they want for their children. We fund YOUR dreams! CICTucson.org